Do-It-Yourself Wooden Bench


Wooden benches in the garden or on a porch or patio provide a traditional, homey feel, as well as an extra place to sit down. If your bench will be out in the open, choose a hardy, naturally rot-resistant wood like cedar or else a treated lumber so that your efforts are not wasted on a bench that will only last the year. With the basic knowledge of using a drill any enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer can make a wooden bench complete with a backrest.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-by-4 lumber, 16 inches long, 6
  • 1-by-4 lumber, 48 inches long, 8
  • 1-by-4 lumber, 43 inches long
  • 4-by-4 lumber, 17 inches long, 2
  • 4-by-4 lumber, 34 inches long, 2
  • Sandpaper
  • 2-inch screws
  • Drill
  • Clamps
  • Level
  • Wood stain or paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Sand all the components of the wooden bench: six pieces of 1-by-4 lumber cut 16 inches long, eight pieces of 1-by-4 lumber cut 48 inches long; one piece of 1-by-4 lumber cut 43 inches long, two pieces of 4-by-4 lumber cut 17 inches long and two pieces of 4-by-4 lumber cut 34 inches long.

  • Make a rectangle using two of the 16-inch pieces of lumber and two of the 48-inch pieces. The ends of the 16-inch planks should form corners with the inside edge of the 48 inch planks. Drive two 2-inch screws through the end of each 48 inch plank into the ends of the 16 inch plank to secure the frame of the bench seat.

  • Insert two pieces of scrap 4-by-4 lumber into the corners of one end of the frame. Insert a piece of 16-inch lumber into the frame, pushed right up against the 4-by-4 scrap pieces, so that the distance between the end of the frame and the 16 inch plank is the exact width of the 4-by-4 lumber.

  • Secure the 16-inch plank into the frame with two screws through the frame into the ends. Remove the scrap lumber and repeat on the other end of the frame. Insert two more evenly spaced 16-inch planks in the middle of the frame. These are the seat support planks, with the 4-by-4-spaced gap leaving room for the bench legs to be attached.

  • Place the 43-inch piece of 1-by-4 across the bench frame flush with one long side. It should be resting on the bench support planks, but leave the 4-by-4 space free for the back legs to protrude through. Secure in place with two screws through the top of the slat into the support planks.

  • Lay three 48-inch planks across the frame for the other bench slats. These will cover over the 4-by-4 space. Secure in place as you did the first bench slat. Turn the bench frame over, so that the slats are now facing down.

  • Insert the 17 inch 4-by-4 planks, which are the front legs, into the corner of the frame that has a long bench slat covering up the 4-by-4 space. Push the legs down until they touch the bench slat.

  • Secure the legs in place with two screws through each side of the frame as well as through the support plank that the legs touch on one side. Turn the frame back over, so that the legs are down and the bench slats are up.

  • Insert the 34-inch long 4-by-4 pieces (the back legs) into the two remaining corners of the bench frame, which have the hole left for the 4-by-4 space. Use the level to bring the bench frame to level on the legs, then clamp the frame to the back legs.

  • Secure the back legs to the frame as you did the front legs. There will be around 17 inches of the back legs coming up from the bench seat, which will be the backrest.

  • Clamp the remaining 48-inch pieces of 1-by-4 lumber (backrest slats) between the back legs, with the first one 3 inches from the top of the legs. Space the other with 1/4 inch between them. Secure to the legs with two screws through the side of the legs into the backrest slats.

  • Stain or paint the wooden bench as desired and let dry completely (per the stain or paint manufacturer’s recommendations) before placing in the garden or on the porch or patio.

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  • Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
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